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Eluru mystery disease: AIIMS finds traces of lead in blood samples of affected

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Eluru mystery disease: AIIMS finds traces of lead in blood samples of affected:


Context:

At least 550 people fell sick in Eluru town in Andhra Pradesh since Saturday evening due to an undiagnosed illness.

  • Following this, the AIIMS team conducted the blood tests.

What caused this?

  • The results indicate lead and nickel content in drinking water or/and milk as the possible reason behind people falling ill.

What symptoms did the patients show?

Some of these people complained of seizures, anxiety, vomiting, and headache. So far, the illness has not spread from one to another person.

Concern:

The presence of the chemicals in the blood samples was very less as the patients were recovering fast. If the quantity of the toxins was high, or spread through air, it would affect the neurological system.

General factors contributing to lead poisoning:

  1. Informal and substandard recycling of lead-acid batteries.
  2. Increase in vehicle ownership, combined with the lack of vehicle battery recycling regulation and infrastructure.
  3. Workers in dangerous and often illegal recycling operations break open battery cases, spill acid and lead dust in the soil.
  4. They also smelt the recovered lead in crude, open-air furnaces that emit toxic fumes poisoning the surrounding community.

general_facts

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. 10 chemicals of major public health concern identified by WHO.
  2. Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint has been launched by?
  3. Lead is mainly used in?
  4. Largest primary producers of lead.
  5. Lead production and consumption in India.

Mains Link:

Write a note on lead poisoning and ways to prevent it.

Sources: the Hindu.